Skip to main content

Garofalo, A Pagan Sacrifice

Key facts
Full title A Pagan Sacrifice
Artist Garofalo
Artist dates about 1481 - 1559
Date made 1526
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 128.3 × 185.4 cm
Inscription summary Dated
Acquisition credit Mond Bequest, 1924
Inventory number NG3928
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Pagan Sacrifice

A young man pours red wine from an amphora onto the goat’s head on the altar; a young woman carries an upside-down torch, while an old woman balances a basket of pears, apples and grapes on her head. For many years the subject of this painting by Garofalo was believed to be a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the gods for the gifts of the fruit-bearing earth. Actually, it represents an ancient funeral.

The painting is based on an illustration that appears in a famous and quite strange antiquarian romance by Francesco Colonna called the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, published in Venice in 1499. In the part of the book relating to this illustration, Colonna describes the cemetery of those who died for love. All the figures in Garofalo’s painting correspond to those in the woodcut illustration, although none are copied exactly.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo